Inferolateral thalamic ischemia secondary to PCA P2 perforator occlusion mimics MCA stroke syndrome

  • Andrew S. GriffinEmail author
  • Rowena Mariano
  • Soeren K. Hauck
  • Erik F. Hauck
Case Report


Paramedian thalamic strokes following occlusion of the posterior medial (paramedian) thalamic perforators have been previously described in great detail. However, the stroke syndrome associated with occlusion of posterior lateral (inferolateral) thalamic perforators is less commonly known. We present an illustrative case of an inferolateral thalamic perforator stroke mimicking a middle cerebral artery (MCA) syndrome and provide a review of the literature. A 62-year-old male presented with dysarthria, contralateral hemisensory loss, and contralateral weakness, concerning for possible MCA stroke. However, close examination revealed the hemiparesis to be ataxic in nature. Imaging revealed a left PCA P2 segment occlusion and lacunar infarction of the ventral lateral (VL) and ventral posterior (VP) thalamus, the main thalamic destination of cerebellar and sensory pathways. The case is unique because the P1 segment and posterior communicating artery (Pcom) remained patent, resulting in selective occlusion of only the posterior lateral (inferolateral) thalamic perforators at the P2 level. Acute loss of the posterior lateral (inferolateral) thalamic perforators at the proximal P2 segment results in a ventral lateral and ventral posterior thalamic stroke characterized by contralateral hemisensory loss, contralateral ataxic hemiparesis, and dysarthria. It is important to recognize the inferolateral thalamic stroke syndrome, as it may be mistaken clinically for an MCA occlusion. The benefit of mechanical thrombectomy for this type of stroke is not well established and should be considered carefully.


Thalamic stroke Posterolateral thalamic perforator Inferolateral thalamic perforator Ventrolateral thalamic nucleus Ventral posterior thalamic nucleus 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Not applicable. A case report or retrospective chart review with three (3) or fewer (an n < 3) patients not presented as a systematic investigation designed to contribute to generalizable knowledge does not require IRB approval.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from the patient.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of HannoverHanoverGermany

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